Hill International, Inc. Safety Manager Madeline “Maddie” Vaughan, SMS, has earned the prestigious Safety Management Specialist (SMS) certification by fulfilling all requirements for the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). The SMS certification is new to the industry, and Maddie was invited to take part in the Beta testing for the credential because of her industry expertise, management background and professional standing. BCSP awards this certification to professionals based on eligibility and experience criteria in the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) discipline.
For the past 20 years, the responsibilities of safety professionals have been expanding. Safety issues are more complex, requiring specialized certifications. BCSP credential holders are among the most highly trained educated and experienced individuals in the safety field. After passing a rigorous examination, participants must recertify every five years to maintain their certification and remain knowledgeable in their respective practice. According to the BCSP website, they are more likely to be hired, earn higher salaries and receive promotions and leadership assignments compared to their non-certified peers.
A New Kind of Test
Maddie’s testing environment was unique. She was one of the first professionals in the United States to take and pass the exam through the Beta testing. The Beta exam is a preliminary version of an exam used to collect data and evaluate exam questions with the participation of actual exam candidates.
“It was an honor to be asked to take part in developing a new certification for safety professionals around the world,” said Maddie. “This new certification is my third professional certification with over 30 years of construction experience and professional memberships.”
BCSP updates its examinations every few years to accommodate changes in safety practices. Candidates often enjoy special incentives to sit for Beta exams, and must complete the exam within a certain time period. Before results are announced, the Beta examination’s items are analyzed. When the study is complete, participating candidates receive their results, the Beta exam becomes the primary exam for the certification, and any previous exam is retired.
Unlike most certificate programs, Maddie did not have the advantage of study guides, test instructors or other resources to prepare for the test. After putting her worries aside and trusting her knowledge, Maddie completed the stressful four-hour exam. Once the results arrived by letter in June, Maddie was hopeful:
“I didn’t open the letter for two days. After I did, the rest was history and I had a new certification!”
Keeping Hill Projects Safe
Maddie’s SMS credential will greatly benefit her work at Hill. The nearly $10 billion Build-LACCD (Los Angeles Community College District) Program provides an ideal environment for Maddie to apply her new safety skills. Responsible for overseeing safety on all nine campuses, Maddie will continue to implement safety regulations, update existing safety requirements for the Program and train contractors on safety requirements.
“Safety is a core value and a key to our success at Hill. We require continuous improvement in our journey toward a zero incident culture, where everyone is committed to safety, health and environmental excellence,” explained Bill Mueller, Hill’s Corporate HSE Manager. “Maddie’s achievement and attitude both exemplify a strong commitment toward safety, which I know will continuously serve to benefit the people and projects she supports.”
Her Hill manager, John Skoury, also supports Maddie’s goal to increase her safety management skills.
“From the first day I met Maddie, I was amazed with her passion and strong commitment to safety which has been and will continue to be a great benefit to all involved on her projects, Hill and the general community. I commend her on this great accomplishment - keep up the good work Maddie.”
In addition to Maddie’s safety accomplishments at Hill, she was recently selected as President Elect for the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Valley Coastal Chapter in Los Angeles. In this role, Maddie will lead and chair leadership conferences and events to support ASSE’s mission to help engineers achieve the highest level of safety performance by connecting them with the right tools and resources.
“I’m very proud of what I do as a safety professional,” said Maddie. “I think this certification shows my dedication to meeting my own goals, as well as Hill’s. I love what I do and I believe I make a difference.”